There’s a saying when it comes to rugby, Rugby is a hooligan sport, but played by gentlemen. Keene State College men’s rugby is a club sport that’s been around for almost 50 years.

Photo contributed by the KSC Rugby team

Photo contributed by the KSC Rugby team

Many people think rugby is just an intense game of football but without the gear.

Head coach, John Johannesen described the sport in two words: elegant violence.

“You can’t just hit a guy as hard as you can and think it’s going to stop and recover– you have to be able to take the hit and keep the possession of the ball.”

In the fall, there are two 40 minute halves with no time-outs. Johannesen said you have to give 110 percent all the time and it can get hard at times.

Having a strong mentality is a big aspect that people don’t realize, Drew Pickett, assistant treasurer and sophomore player, said.

“Coming into the sport, I learned rugby isn’t just physical but about mentality. You can’t hesitate on any play or anything because it can cost you greatly,” he said.

Despite the club team only having one coach, they accomplish what needs to be done to meet their goals.

Their practices consist of many types of drills including tackling, contact, hands, speed work and passing.

Those interested do not need any prior experience to play. Johannesen said he usually gets players that never played and enjoys teaching players how to play the game and the fundamentals of it.

The team has to bundle up in layers during this time of year.

They practice Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-11 p.m..

Rugby has a business side as well with their e-board. It consists of a president, vice president, treasurer, match secretary and a social chair.

The team has two captains, a back’s captain and a forward’s captain.

Casey Brackett, who was the forward captain is away this semester, so senior Jared Jobs is in his replacement.

Avery Putnam is the back’s captain and also one of the treasurers.

Putnam said although rugby gets financial help through the school and their alumni, at times they have to fundraise on their own.

The team’s treasurer and assistant treasurer come up with a budget then proposes it to the school.

According to Putnam, they calculate their budget based on medical supplies and professional services(athletic trainers, refs, etc.) and transportation. It’s not always 100 perceny guaranteed that the school will give them the whole amount.

Going to a tournament roughly costs them $1000 to $1500 each weekend. There’s the van rentals, gas and jerseys.

They rent vans due to having 40 to 50 players attending the tournament. Going to tournaments is something Pickett looks forward too.

“Tournaments is when were all together playing the sport we love no matter the outcome,” he said.

“My favorite part about the game is the bond that builds between the team from working hard in practice and then giving everything we have on the field to try and win games,” Putnam said. He also added the team isn’t just a team but it’s a family, between going to practice and just hanging out with each other. Pickett said whether they win or lose they always learn from it to bring into the next game.

Adriana Sanchez can be contacted at

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